Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

Storytime Breaks: Good or Evil?


Today was my last storytime until July. We take a break since everything is so crazy in June with Summer Reading visits and sign ups and no school. Usually, I’m not a fan of storytime breaks. I’ve always believed a big part of our job is storytime and we shouldn’t get a “break” from our job unless we go on vacation or whatever. BUT. The tables have turned in my brain and now I believe there are sometimes really good reasons for breaks. This break is the first one I have EVER been glad for. And here’s why:

When I started this job in June last year, we were moving in to a new library. I was assigned to do preschool storytime and some after school school age programming. It was all fine and good, but in January the librarian who did toddler storytime got a great new job and moved on. I LOVE toddlers so was quick to request that storytime. The leaving librarian’s replacement would take over preschool storytime and I got my beloved toddlers (plus no one else was even slightly interested in them). We had already planned on adding a second baby storytime to take place right before our 10:30 slot in hopes of reducing those numbers and I was going to be responsible for the 9:30 baby storytime and a library assistant who had been doing the 10:30 slot would continue. Then SHE left us! So, that meant I took over both baby storytimes (again with no one wanting it-crazy people!).

 That’s a long story, but it gives the background for why I’m SO happy to have this break.


Storytime breaks GOOD:

-Starting a new session makes storytimes seem brand new and exciting

-Librarian can introduce new “guidelines” and reiterate old ones so everyone is on the same board with expectations

-We get some extra time to plan so we feel refreshed when we start back up

-Provides the perfect opportunity for patrons to graduate to other storytimes


Storytime breaks EVIL:

-Patrons are inconvenienced and VERY angry about missing storytimes

-Patrons get out of the habit of coming to the library and we may lose a few permanently


The EVIL is not bad enough for me to still hate breaks. I added a Dance Party on Mondays for the month we are not having storytime so patrons are much happier now that they have something to do to replace storytime.


So the storytime breaks non-believer has been made a believer. It’s shocking. Really.


After having to take over from two storytellers with VERY different styles from my own, I welcome the chance to kick off a new session with my rules and style and no “But Miss so and so always did it that way.” This librarian is getting her confidence back! And this break is going to be just the thing to do it.


How do you feel about breaks? Good or evil?

If you take breaks, how do you start a new session? New songs, rhymes, etc.? New rules? Do you tell everyone the rules before the first storytime or have a handout? Don’t care about expectations at all? Why?

Author: Kendra

Children's Librarian in the Northwest. Lover of toddlers, twitter, and TV (T's, too, apparently!).

7 thoughts on “Storytime Breaks: Good or Evil?

  1. I love my session breaks. They re-energize me and keep me from burning out. I used to be the only person at my library who did storytimes, but then we had many requests to add a 2nd weekly storytime and I was not available to do it, so I assigned my assistant. It’s been working out pretty well and has made her feel a lot more prepared to cover the summer storytimes while I’m on maternity leave.

    I don’t cover expectations much because my storytime attendees are so great. I really don’t change much of our opening routine except that I make a new felt board guessing game ala Little Mouse for each session.

    If I didn’t have breaks in storytime, there are a lot of things that wouldn’t get done around here. I also do programming for the older kids and prepwork for some of our huge programs like puppet shows and summer reading during my breaks.

    If we had a larger staff, I could see just rotating who does which sessions, but it’s really just the two of us, so that’s not really an option.

    • I’d never thought of rotating storytimes so there would always be something happening. Might be crazy to schedule but it’s a great idea for libraries with enough staff. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I used to feel the same way, back when I worked in a system where sessions lasted only six weeks. Then, the breaks seemed too frequent, and parents were often confused about when we had storytime and when we didn’t.

    Now, with sessions lasting four months, I welcome the break. I often start feeling slightly burned out during the last month. With a one month break, I come back refreshed and full to the brim of new ideas I want to try. Plus, the break also allows me time to fully prepare storytime plans as well as work on other projects I have to put off during sessions.

    All in all, I’d say I’m a fan of the break.

    • That’s exactly the path of my feelings. Every six weeks was too soon. Now it’s every six months and it seems to be working.

  3. I’ve never actually had much of a problem with the evils of breaks. Even when I started at BC it was tough to train parents to come back after a break, but now we’re getting so many people that we had to move from the storyroom to the programming room!

    Plus: being only part time I wouldn’t be able to survive without breaks and time to plan in-between. I would be stuck doing the same storytimes over and over and everyone involved would get bored before long.

    • The part time point is a good one. None of our part timers do storytime but I bet they’d agree with you.

  4. Pingback: We’re Baaack | The Librarian Is on The Loose

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